Montana Politics

Profiles in Cowardice: Denny Rehberg on Medicare

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Dennis Rehberg has made a career of not taking a stand on critical issues, but in his latest pandering e-mail to his constituents (sent on the taxpayers’ dime, I might add) Rehberg promises to protect Medicare, arguing that neither party in Washington has answers for the program:

Both Parties Are Wrong On Medicare – Look to the American Public, Not Washington for Solutions

And it works.  After more than 80 listening sessions throughout Montana, I’ve heard from thousands of Montanans.  The ideas I hear from real people usually make a whole lot more sense than the nonsense that comes out of Washington.

That might be a great opening to an e-mail, were it followed with an actual plan, proposal or even an idea. Of course, once again, Rehberg’s not offering any of those.

After eighty listening sessions and a decade in Congress, how much longer should Montanans have to wait for Representative Rehberg to make up his mind? It’s simply astonishing how long and how often the Montana media has let Rehberg get away with this rope-a-dope strategy on contentious issue after contentious issue.

The truth, of course? Rehberg no doubt supports his party’s reactionary agenda to gut Social Security and Medicare while letting millionaires and corporations exploit tax loopholes you could drive a fire truck through.

The same Rehberg who claims that he would never  vote to cut Medicare authored an amendment that would have led to serious cuts for millions of Americans and thousands of Montanans:

In a letter Tuesday to Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., Sebelius explained that since the health care law repealed the old payment rates for private plans, Medicare could be left with no legal authority to continue to issue payments. She said that would risk “significant disruptions in services” to about 12.8 million Medicare recipients.

Reflecting the values of constituents is important, but so is doing your job. Representative Rehberg might find it convenient to never offer an substantive ideas, but that convenience does nothing for the people of Montana.

About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is a eighteen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.

His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.

In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it’s a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

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